Tag Archives: family

Breathe…Easily or Not

Breathing is so easy you can do it in your sleep…what’s interesting is that it’s much more difficult when you’re actually awake and aware of it. The importance of simply interrupting your crazy life from time to time to focus on your breathing recently hit me, at the most unexpected time.


Fatherhood is relatively new to me. I have a two year old little boy as well as a 3 month old baby girl, both of whom are the most beautiful things on this planet, next to my lovely wife. During the first month of her life, my daughter had it pretty rough. She had been experiencing a lot of belly pain and reflux that led to her crying pretty much anytime she wasn’t eating or sleeping. As you would imagine, that led to some pretty exhausting nights after also working a full-time job during the day – props to my wife for dealing with it all day long.

One night while trying to calm her down around 2-3am (I think, although everything at those hours is a bit blurry), I held her and found myself getting more and more anxious the more she kept crying. Nothing I did helped – feeding, changing, rocking…nothing. I felt my breathing getting a bit more intense and started to lose my cool, which certainly wasn’t helping matters. As I became more aware of my breathing, I started counting to myself and my brain jumped to one of my favorite tracks by the great Jay-Z, Lyrical Exercise.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 … breathe easy

The song never jumped out to me as providing a larger lesson for life and showing the importance of controlling your breathing to calm yourself down and gain control of a situation. Maybe Jay had that in mind, or maybe he was just talking about his delivery when rapping, but either way it was speaking to me in the wee hours of that morning.

Regulating my breathing helped me control the situation and soon, I found that my daughter followed suit. As I caught my breathe, she began to do the same and soon we were both calm and able to get some rest.

Control your breathing, control the situation, achieve the desired outcome.


Image from: https://www.pinterest.com/marilusa/o/



top priority

peace before everything

The most important thing you can have in your life is peace. Peace can mean something different for everyone, it’s all about how you define it. It can literally mean a lack of violence, which for some, is everything. If you grew up in a home or neighborhood where violence was present, finding a way to escape that violence is key to improving your life. Peace can also mean an inner peace. An acceptance of what your life is and an acknowledgement that there is only so much you can change. Find the peace you need to lay the groundwork for moving ahead in life.

god before anything

I’m not a very religious dude, at least in the church going sense. I do believe in something, however, which I think is very important. In no way will I preach anything on this point, but I do feel it’s a good idea to think about the possibility of something bigger out there. If maybe there was something, and maybe someday you had to look back on how you lived your life, would you be happy with how you did? Always think about this question as you encounter different situations, problems, relationships, people, jobs etc.

love before anything

When you find peace in your life, it allows you to find love. Without peace, you’ll never truly be able to love anything or anyone and feel that love in return. As you move through different stages of life, love can mean drastically different things. When you’re a kid, you (hopefully) love your parents. You might love a sport, you might even love a new toy you got for Christmas. As you mature, you’ll find that love is a much bigger thing than you ever thought, and it relates to not only yourself but to others. Love shifts from being about things that make you happy to being about things that make others happy. Never force love, just let it enter your life when it’s ready and when you’re ready. It’ll hit you someday and that will be a good day.

real before everything

It’s important to always remain true to yourself. Never fall victim to doing something because it’s cool or because you’re friends are doing it. Everything you do should genuinely interest you and everyone you associate with should be a part of your life because you truly want them to be. If you don’t remain true to yourself, you’ll never find peace in your life and never find the love that peace allows.

home before anyplace

I’m fortunate to have grown up in a very loving home. Family is one of the most important things you can have in life because the support of a loving family is necessary to deal with everything life is going to throw at you. You may not have grown up in an ideal home, but that does not mean you’re a lost cause. Family can mean many different things. Friends, partners, co-workers, mentors, anything. You do have family in your life, you just have to realize who that family is and that they will be there for you as you come across different hardships throughout your life.

life is good…as is mos def…

Mos Def – “Priority”


Keep it simple.

It seems like something so obvious that it just can’t be right, but experience has shown me time and again that it’s true. Take a look at any part of your life and you’ll find some good examples of this advice coming into play.


When it comes to family, one of the worst things you can do is to complicate things by over-thinking meaningless problems. I’m sure you’ve seen many times when fights have somehow seemed to manifest themselves out of nowhere. Things can turn from nothing into something major pretty quickly. The next time you have a little squabble with a family member, or you see others you love squabbling over something silly, take a step back. Take a deep breathe and think about all the time and energy being wasted when there’s a good chance it means nothing in the whole scheme of things. Keep things simple and realize that at the end of the day, family is one of the most important parts of your life. They’re there to love and support you, so don’t waste that valuable asset on something meaningless.


Many careers require you to think deeply and spend a great deal of time preparing spreadsheets, presentations or documentation. I would never advise against any of this, but be sure to use your time wisely. Many times I’ve found myself wasting hours and hours thinking about a possible solution to a problem while the answer was staring right at me the whole time. It’s natural to think that some problems must have a complicated solution or else they would have been solved already, but I’ve learned that this usually isn’t the case. All it takes is some clear thinking to realize that the problem you’re dealing with isn’t as big as it seemed at first. Keep things simple, break down the problem at hand and apply some logic to resolve it. People will take notice and soon you’ll start to hear, “Oh that was easy, I should have thought of that!”


Different people are interested in different types of art. Some like the more complicated and really deep types of music, literature and photography. I’m sure a music theorist and fan of classical would argue with a fan of hip-hop all day about what constitutes music and how something more complex is simply just better than something more simple. It really comes down to taste with art and what people can feel a connection with. Personally, I’ve always gravitated to the simpler forms of art. I can appreciate all forms, but I can really understand and feel a simple kick and snare with a chopped sample. Too many synthesized noises or layers upon layers of instruments and I’m lost. Not to say there is anything wrong with more complex forms, but when it comes to art, I’d always use the same advice, keep it simple and people will be feeling it. If you hit a drought of creativity, keep it simple. Go back to your roots and you’ll always find that inspiration and creativity coming back when you need them most.

In his jam “Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice),” Kendrick Lamar puts it oh so eloquently…”Some rappers using big words to make their similes heard, my simplest shit be more pivotal.”